A couple of weeks ago I posted about a great empirical study by Buddy Media which outlines ways in which to optimise the engagement of Facebook wallposts. So what about Twitter? Well there’s an infographic for that too, courtesy of Hubspot.
Come on fellow planners. Find out what you should be earning!
Special thanks to @hklefevre and her great team for all the effort in pulling this together.
I’m in the process of reviewing the web strategy for one of my clients with a particular focus on improving usability to increase conversion. Our Senior User Experience Architect, Lynda Elliot (@lelliott0505) shared this video by Dr Susan Weinschenk which is worth posting as it contains a few useful nuggets. I particularly like her overarching point that we tend to focus on creating online functionality and a user experience so that visitors ‘can do’ a particular task. But that’s not the same as ‘will do’ where they are made to feel more inclined to undertake the task, or ‘still do’ where repeat visitors come back again to complete different tasks. To influence ‘will do’ and ‘still do’ behaviour you need to work harder to inject persuasion, emotion and trust.
She proceeds to outline 7 principles to help improve engagement and encourage ‘will do’ and ‘still do’ behaviour. I particularly like Principle #1 around the danger of providing too much choice as it can be counter-productive; principle #2 around the importance of social validation; and principle #6 around storytelling to get your message across more convincingly. There’s a lot more documented around weapons of persuasion than this but I like the way this is articulated (or should I say spelt out!)
Before a brand commits to any social media campaign, activity or platform it’s clearly essential to understand how their target audience behaves in these environments. For example, where is your target audience predominantly online? How active are they in this space? Are they the types of people who proactively share and contribute to the conversation or do they prefer to observe by the sidelines? Are they likely to invest time and energy in UGC or would such an invitation fall on deaf ears? What digital platforms are they most comfortable frequenting online? And what are the motivations and key drivers that lie behind their social media behaviour?
Unless one can answer these types of questions, there’s a fair chance your social media efforts could all be in vein. The good news, however, is that there are a number of sources, tools and frameworks available which can help us build a fairly informed picture of our target audience’s social media profile. And the best bit, most of them are completely free! Outlined below are the ones I’m most familiar with or have found to be most useful over the years. I’ve also restricted the list to tools which can be applied across Europe markets and not just the US.
1. The Global Web Index
The Global Web Index (Lite) is a nifty little free tool recently published by Trendstream to help you view the social media profiles of different online audiences across Europe. It’s based on a quantitatitive survey and manages to overlay social media behaviour and motivations by country, age and attitudinal profiles. The full version will have a lot more meat on the bones but for a quick snapshot this Lite version can be quite an insightful tool, particularly when comparing against different markets.
2. Universal McCanns Social Media Tracker
This in my view is the holy grail when it comes to tracking trends in social media from a global perspective. It’s been going a few years now and is an essential point of reference for anyone trying to identify behavioural trends in social media. There’s a free Silverlight-based tool here which is quite fancy but for usable insights and stats you really need to read the Wave 4 report . Considering it’s free, it’s absolute gold dust!
3. Forresters Social Technographics Tool
Forrester’s social technographics tool has been around for a while but is still a great way to map your target audience’s propensity to participate in social media. With this tool you can get a decent idea whether your audience over indexes for certain types of behaviour. So for example, if they over index as ‘creators’ there’s a fair chance they’d be receptive to getting involved in a crowdsourcing or UGC project. Conversely, if they’re predominently spectators and inactives, don’t even go there.
Unfortunately some European markets are not covered for some age profiles which I assume is because they don’t hold enough survey data.
4. Altimeter’s Engagement Pyramid
This isn’t a data analytical tool as far as I believe but rather a strategic framework to help map the different ways in which consumers engage in social media. I’ve reported on this before when it first came out as I liked its simplicity. Even though there’s no data to substantiate this, it’s good common sense and highlights the importance of socialgraphics to help inform social media strategies rather than simply relying on traditional demographic and psychographic profiles.
5. TMW’s Motivational Drivers to Social Media Participation
Understanding ‘how’ your target audience participates in social media is important but only one piece of the jigsaw. It’s also important to ask yourself ‘why’. At TMW, we conducted some research in conjunction with research agency ICM to help identify the motivations behind social media participation. We concluded there are 6 key motivational drivers for participating in this space.
The interesting thing is that these motivations change according to different demographics. You can read some of insightful results from this study in a previous post here.
6. TGI Net Europa
Launched in September 2008, with new data released twice a year, TGI Net Europa combines the full TGI Europa database with extensive detailed information on internet behaviour and attitudes. This isn’t a free tool unfortunately so you may have to ask your media agency nicely if you can use it!
7. Social Media Statistics Compendium by econsultancy
The Social Media Statistics Compendium is one of the reports bundled with the eConsulancy’s Internet Statistics Compendium. It costs £250 on its own but is jam packed with useful stats on social media from a variety of third party sources.
If you want to understand the profile of Facebook users within your market and compare this to your target audience profile, it’s worth visiting Check facebook. It’s free too.
9. Nielson’s Global Faces & Networked Places Report – March 2009
Finally, Nielson’s Global Faces and Network Places report looks at the social media market as a whole but does have a useful section on how the audience is changing and starting to mature.
So there you have it – a mix of tools and approaches to help you build up a social media profile of your target audience. It’s not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination so if you know any more I may have missed feel free to add them below.
The IAB Social Media and Mobile Council have just published 10 things you need to know about mobile and social media. In fact, if you look carefully you’ll see one of the tips happens to come from yours truly 😉
1. Accelerating change. Whilst Gartner predicts that mobile will be the dominant form of web access worldwide by 2013, today, already, the combination of social and mobile is accelerating that trend, with nearly the same percentage of iPhone owners accessing Facebook through their mobile (71%) as through fixed line internet (77%).
(Ipsos, “The Future of Mobile” study, December 2009)
Steve Wing, Head of Mobile and Digital Attraction, Guardian
2. Social media and mobile are growing. It’s been predicted by eMarketer that mobile and social network users worldwide will grow more than fivefold between 2009 and 2014, rising from 141.4 million users in 2009 to 760.1 million in 2014.
Clark Turner, Editor, UTalk Marketing
3. It’s how we spend our time. 48% of time spent on the mobile internet is on social networking sites.
Alistair Hill, Analyst and Mobile Products, Europe, comScore
4. It’s personal. To get the most from mobile it is crucial to fully understand everyone you see, along with their actions. Use mobile analytics to precisely identify, measure and personalize websites and apps for each person. Then give everything a social element and learn how people share your service and spread the word.
Andy Bovingdon, VP Product Marketing, Bango
5. Becoming the norm. We conducted a survey of mobile users who viewed ads on our network to better understand how mobile social networking differs from PC usage. We found that over 55% of all feature phone users, 47% of smartphone users and 38% of iPhone users report using social networks from their phone “often”. Additionally, high-end mobile device users are more likely to use Facebook and Twitter while mobile than the reported PC usage patterns.
Jonathan Abraham, Brand Sales Director, Europe, admob
6 It’s frequent. Social networking on mobile is encouraging regular usage – when people use social networks they do so an average of 3.8 times a day for 42 minutes.
Alex Kozloff, Media Research Manager, Unanimis
7 Making mobile inspirational. Using mobile and social media together can add insight to your campaign at the same time as being inspirational. Nike’s True City app created by AKQA is a great example of this. The app utilises social media by encouraging the user to share content from their iPhone to their Facebook page.
Harriet Clarke, Communications Executive, IAB
8. It must be mindful of consumers. If driving users to your online social networking site, be mindful of the user journey for example iPhones aren’t flash enabled which could result in a deflating user experience and a missed opportunity for advertisers.
Mike Newcombe, Mobile & VOD Controller, bskyb
9. It can be compatible. A staggering 2.2 billion minutes were spent using Facebook in a single month via UK mobile phones (GSMA Mobile Media Metrics Dec 2009). As more and more people choose to access Facebook via their mobile rather than their PC, it will become increasingly important for branded Facebook apps to be mobile compatible too.
Richard Pentin, Senior Planner, TMW
10. It can be integrated. You can significantly add to your overall communications plan by including a mobile element to make your marketing more social. Setting consumers tasks that are relevant to their mobile usage and then providing a forum for comparison or competition can add dynamism to a campaign. Lean Mean Fighting Machine recently launched an award-winning campaign for Samsung, which made the most of the exceptional quality of their new phone with a ‘silent disco’ with a twist… Contestants danced to the music on their mobile phones and if someone called or texted them during the disco they were out of the competition. This campaign successfully tapped into the mindset of the mobile consumer, and built on behaviours they were already used to in a very social way.
Amy Kean, Senior PR and Marketing Manager, IAB
I thought this was worth sharing – Gartner published last month their IT predictions for the next few years. Of particular note are their mobile phone /user devices predictions at the end of the report (section 10).
In a nutshell, they anticipate that in the next 3 years mobile will surpass the PC as the most common web access device worldwide. They’re not saying that mobiles will replace PCs as the primary way to browse the web, but rather the sheer penetration of smartphones and browser-enabled enhanced mobile devices by 2013 will ultimately mean that more people will be accessing the web on their mobiles than on PC.
When I shared this report with Douglas McDonald, the Head of Mobile at TMW he suggested we should use some caution using global numbers as much of that growth is in emerging economies where mobile is the only option for connectivity. Fixed line will be far more important in the short term in US, Western Europe. That said, it’s very clear that brands need to seriously consider developing a mobile website strategy if they haven’t done so already.
The full report can be accessed here or you can review the relevant extract below:
GARTNER EXTRACT: KEY REPORT FINDINGS
Tom Smith from Trendstream gave this presentation to the IAB Europe Council recently which outlines key research findings on social media participation and behaviour across Europe (with particular emphasis on Russia). He also outlines the impact this has on consumer buying behaviour and how social strategies will become ever more important in the digital age.
Tom Smith specialises in social media research and seems to be presenting quite a few interesting findings at the moment. I posted about one of his other reports here which is also worth a look if you get time.